In the Community

We are so excited to announce that Click Workspace has recently become a Trustee organization of Kiva Zip.

Kiva Zip is a program of, an international lending organization for individuals and small businesses. Kiva Zip makes micro-finance loans for small businesses in the US and Kenya that contribute in a meaningful way to the social good. Borrowers can request 0% interest loans of up to $5000 to grow their businesses and funding comes from individuals near and far through an online giving platform. 

Kiva Zip is a great fit for Click Workspace. As a coworking organization hosting many small businesses in our space, and as a dynamic member of the Northampton community, we see building networks and opportunities to invest in each other’s success as a key role that we can fill. Reducing the cost of capital and expanding financial opportunities can help to bring short-term success while building lasting community connections can ensure growth and success in the long term

Many business owners recognize that a small amount of money will provide just the support they need (for example, for a new piece of equipment or up front costs of materials), but because they are in a high-risk category they might not qualify for a bank loan. This could be because they are new business owners, haven’t borrowed before, don’t have capital to draw upon, or are entrepreneurs who haven’t established a strong record of growth. Kiva Zip uses different metrics than the bank, relying on human capital as a measure of creditworthiness. In the first round of lending, borrowers are asked to invite family and friends to start their fundraising.  After the designated number of friends have signed on then, "the Kiva Zip community takes care of the rest.”

Kiva notes that lenders give for many reasons. Some appreciate helping others and empowering entrepreneurs.  Others want to invest in their neighborhoods.  Lenders are customers, neighbors, advisors, and ambassadors for the small businesses they support. Kiva Zip lenders can give as little as $25 and once the loan is paid back can reinvest the funds if they choose.

Click’s role as a Kiva Zip Trustee will be to endorse borrowers and boost their capacity for outreach to the community through our own networks of potential lenders.  Our Kiva advisory team will meet borrowers and review loans to determine if they are a good fit with our mission. Then we’ll help to promote an approved loan through our social media and colleague organizations. Ultimately, we hope to build a fund to help finance loans as well. Starting this summer we will take on two or three loans and as the program becomes successful, hope to endorse even more.

We are currently looking for our first endorsement opportunities and invite you to share this information with anyone who may be interested in learning more about borrowing through Kiva Zip and Click.

Coworking for a better you

We were excited to read “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces” by a group of PhDs from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in the Harvard Business Review.  They confirmed what we here at Click know anecdotally with some real data and then they dug in to identify the reasons behind the numbers.

Here’s the gist:  People who work in coworking spaces are happier and more effective than workers in conventional office settings or those working on their own.

"There seems to be something special about coworking spaces. As researchers who have, for years, studied how employees thrive, we were surprised to discover that people who belong to them report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average for employees who do their jobs in regular offices, and something so unheard of that we had to look at the data again."

The primary reasons they lay out are:
1. People who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful.  
Many coworkers are freelancers and are able to choose the work they take on.  They opt in to projects and partnerships that suit them.  In a coworking space, people are coming from many different disciplines and job types, meaning that there is less direct competition for acceptance.  And in many coworking spaces, there’s a culture of collaboration, meaning that you’re likely to find answers to your questions by reaching out to your coworking colleagues.

2.  They have more job control. 
We all know that entrepreneurs and sole practitioners work long hours, but coworkers can choose when they work.  Not only that, consultants and freelancers have made themselves the boss.  But, as noted in the article, some structure can be a good thing.  Coming to work in a professional space can help to motivate progress.

3.  They feel part of a community. 
Here at Click, and in many other coworking organizations, we are a community.  We know each other’s names and are willing to share ideas and a laugh now and then.  From day-to-day interactions to our monthly happy hour and lunch hour programming, we offer optional opportunities to network and engage.

How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Given how much we in Northampton and the whole of Western Massachusetts love to help our communities, we thought you might find this article interesting: The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line.

Some highlights: 

Companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors, and see many benefits, including loyal customers and happier employees. According to a May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop. 
Read the whole thing here.